Composer-lyricist-performer Dave Malloy is set to have a big fall: In October, his cult-hit Tolstoy-inspired musical Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 transfers to Broadway after its sold-out premiere at Ars Nova and a Spiegeltent-style commercial run. We so loved this irreverent, theatrically thrilling adaptation of War and Peace (well, 80 pages of it), we put Malloy and other cast members on the cover three years ago. The Broadway production stars a little-known crooner in one of the title roles: Josh Groban as Pierre.
As an amuse-bouche before the main event at the Imperial Theatre, you can get a taste of Malloy’s eclectic songwriting style (think Tom Waits meets Gogol Bordello with a healthy dash of Wilco) in Brooklyn. It’s a free outdoor performance on July 29 of Malloy’s marvelously cryptic piece Ghost Quartet. Freakier than Natasha, Pierre, it's the perfect material for alfresco fun (and chills). When I reviewed the world premiere at Bushwick Starr two years ago I wrote that Malloy's songs “make you blue like the sky: sad but high. Listening to his brand of emo-pop regret laced with cosmic hope, it’s like you’re watching a spectacular sunrise after a night of whiskey and lame flirting.”
But don’t take my word for it. As the Bushwick Starr’s Sue Kessler says: “Dave's beautiful show will unfold under the stars, back in the neighborhood where it was first created, as an incredibly diverse audience gathers around in the open air to witness it. When this idea first sprung, we were all most excited, especially Dave, about the show being performed as it was always intended—as a campfire piece, outdoors in the dark, with the music floating up into the night, spinning stories in the air, and the audience as spiritual collaborators. It's also an amazing opportunity for different communities to come together and experience great performance in one of Brooklyn's most vibrant neighborhoods. Lastly, it's a great moment for the Starr as we continue to build bonds with our city officials and work together to offer our programming to wider audiences.” The fun takes place at Maria Hernandez Park July 29 at 8pm.